Misfortune and Glory

Did you know some people consider it bad luck to walk over three drains? Or whatever those sort of large grey squares in the pavement are that usually come in twos or threes; could be drains, could be vertical graves. If you’ve ever been walking with someone who considers three drains to be unlucky, and they shove you out of the way so neither of you walks onto an oncoming drain triplet, then it really is your duty to demonstrate to them that real bad luck comes as a results of forcing your beliefs on others, or shoving. Perhaps trip them over, or slap them promptly across the chops, before whipping out a pre-bought scratch card and scratching it off in front of them. If you do this with enough people, eventually you’ll scratch off a winner, no matter how small the prize. If they really are moronically superstitious, you should then be able to convince them that for you, slapping them, or tripping them, or punting them in the coccyx (dealer’s choice) is empirically lucky for you. If in any subsequent situation where you stand to gain based purely on statistical likelihood, they should either offer up a part of their body for you to thump, or prioritise their own safety over their mental sickness. Either outcome should be pretty satisfying.

Contrarian that I am, I try to subvert superstition wherever possible since it annoys me so much. My life is a constant stream of smashing mirrors with open umbrellas under indoor ladders, while screaming Macbeth at all the pennies I never pick up. My mum would always refuse to cross on the stairs when I was younger, but this was her superstition, not mine, so any stand off between us at opposite ends of the staircase would last a mere second before I started to proceed. Or I would feign concession, waiting until she was halfway, and then proceeding, forcing her to retreat with the confused irascibility of a customer leaving DFS without a discount.
My favourite superstitions have always been brought up my nan, who has so many by which she lives, every daily activity seems to have potential bad luck attached to it. Her life must be a constant obstacle course of old wives tales, preventing her from turning on the television if her socks match her hair, or only changing gears while driving if the clock is on an even number of minutes. Her last pet was a white dog, which if you ask me, is a pretty transparent attempt to ensure that the only thing crossing her path is the exact opposite of a black cat.

The most confusing thing is that some people see luck as governing all things, with every event open to be interpreted as having an objective value of luckiness, in the sense that it could be a reflection of how lucky that person is. You’ll often hear people say ‘knowing my luck’ followed by a sort of example of sod’s (or Murphy’s) law. Such as: “Oh I hear you got a great deal on your new car?” “Yeah I did, but knowing my luck, it’ll probably breakdown the moment I get onto a motorway.”
Or: “Wait, you mean you just found that bag of drugs on the floor? For free?”
“Yeah, but knowing my luck it’s probably one of those drugs that comes with the weight of the deaths of the thousands of people for whom the drug industry is destroying their country. Honestly I have the worst luck. Probably.”
This can also be seen as a weird perversion of egotism disguised as humility, in that these idiots think that it’s endearing to speculate on worst-case scenarios of their life, fabricating unfortunate but more interesting alternate versions of future events. They insist that something unique might always happen to them, but with a negative bent supposed to temper it. Instead of them walking uneventfully home from work, they’ll surely encounter a statistical anomaly, such as bumping into an old friend, or tripping over the body of Jimmy Hoffa, but turned around so it’s less positive and therefore less self-centred, so the old friend is an ex who makes the meeting really awkward, or the only reason you found Jimmy Hoffa is because it turns out you killed him. It’s like a humblebrag, but the brag is replaced by solipsism. ‘This event was so unfortunate, because it happened to me and I’m so unlucky. If it had happened to anyone else, it would have been normal. Oh gosh aren’t I such a cosmic klutz?’

Additionally, luck can be seen as an unstoppable, inexplicably omnipresent force, like gravity, or Deliveroo. It’s a less obviously culturally-appropriated and selfish form of karma; some unseen value that influences our future outside of physical cause and effect. It’s pretty hard to think of it as distinct from religion, since there’s not much difference in a confusing religious rite performed to receive cosmic favour, and blowing an eyelash to wish for world peace, or for crisps to somehow be good for you.
Perhaps I should spread word of a new universal force, in the realm of karma, or fate. A force like luck, but that has no consistent causal link. So one occasion of you being shat on by a bird, could result in you running out of salt for dinner, and the next occasion could bring your toilet to life. I call this force ‘Croip’, and it could seriously impact your life. Don’t touch that dog! You might be causing a toxic gas leak in Honduras! Thinking of holding that door open for a colleague? Better not, in case it results in hundreds of spiders kicking you in your sleep. But it could equally cause an ice-cream sluice to appear in your shed, so perhaps you should. Croip doesn’t know what’s good or what’s bad. If you believe in karma, then maybe you believe that you found that tenner on the floor because you didn’t masturbate this morning, or that when you dropped your phone and it landed on your shoe, so the screen didn’t break, that was because you put the toilet seat down out of consideration for your female housemate?
What must you then think of people who suffer from terrible diseases? You must consequently assume cancer victims are also on the receiving end of karma. Wait, do you think that they deserve to have cancer? Jesus Christ. You fucking monster. At least with the Croip system it might be as a result of something good they did, because it’s all entirely random. So they could be a wonderful person. Or people in positions of power, or high political office might be there because of horrible things they’ve done, God forbid. But that can’t be right. Karma is just, yes? And everything is just.

Just shit, knowing my luck.

Next time on the bandwagon, it turns out that ‘Tim Goodings’ was a nom de plume this whole time, and I reveal my real celebrity identity. Hint: I didn’t not write Carrie. Or didn’t I?